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From automobility to autonomobility: A sketch of a utopian future Katharina Manderscheid, Universitaet Luzern. Noel Cass, Lancaster University.

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Presentation on theme: "From automobility to autonomobility: A sketch of a utopian future Katharina Manderscheid, Universitaet Luzern. Noel Cass, Lancaster University."— Presentation transcript:

1 From automobility to autonomobility: A sketch of a utopian future Katharina Manderscheid, Universitaet Luzern. Noel Cass, Lancaster University

2 (re)Framing the problem Climate change, peak oil, ecological limits Mobility for the powerful, not for marginal or unproductive Proposed solutions techno fixes, high tech, energy intensive Leave untouched: – Economic growth – Exploitation of resources – Liberal individualism – Derived compulsions to be (auto)mobile

3 Mobilities turn Mobility justice as: – Network capital (Larsen, Axhausen and Urry) – Motility (Kaufmann) – Mobility equity (Sheller 2011) Proposed scenarios: – Individualised pods (Dennis and Urry) – Smart mobility systems – Mobility on demand (Sheller 2012) Issues raised: – Energy intensive (electric, digital) – Surveillance and control (smart - Packer 2008, Dennis and Urry 2009)

4 Concepts of justice Environmental justice: – Uneven distribution of benefits and impacts of mobility systems (noise, pollution, roads not streets, topological impact) Intergenerational equity: – Unfair distribution of costs to future generations Procedural justice: – People impacted most by automobility benefit least, and have no voice

5 Unjust mobility The current mobility regime entails a range of injustices, which are built into the socio-spatial order... Social injustice: Unequal distribution of network capital – gendered, class-based, racialised Unequal effects of mobility regimes Spatial injustice: splintering urbanism, ongoing polarisation of hot and cold spots of provision (Graham and Marvin 2001)  low-carbon mobility options tend to be available only at gentrified connect urban residential areas Autonomy injustice: the compulsions and the constraints of (im)mobility are rooted in particular economic policies and cultural norms, e.g. Workfare policies, immigration regimes, de-legitimisation of particular mobility practices

6 Automobile freedom A particular individualist interpretation of ‘freedom’ is inscribed in the technical, infrastructural and cultural landscape of automobility (Cass and Manderscheid 2010) Mobility as freedom From place (exit, escape - Bauman 2000) From (traditional) social and spatial ties (cf. Marx, Rose 1999) Desocialised/atomised form of freedom Neoliberal self-reliance – delivering one’s labour to capital

7 Autonomobility Logically, freedom for all to move or not to move! But to what ends? – Decentring mobility as a good in itself – Emancipation – ‘Gesellschaftliche Teilhabe chancen’ Societal participation opportunities: “a fisherman in the morning and an intellectual in the evening” (Marx) – Capabilities – substantive freedoms, options to chose functionings, and well-being rather than utility (Sen) (problem? – agency and choice)

8 Autonomobility Creates conflicts over social space: – Immigrants and the idealised neo-liberal worker: Beyond this paper, but ‘unwanted’ or controlled mobility – paradox of neo-liberalist mobile, flexible labour. – Gentrification: elite occupation of transportational hot-spots and therefore right to low mobility – ‘Self-ghettoism’: non-integration as occupying space for low-mobility small worlds.

9 Practice theory Decentre mobility – mobilities as (systems of) practice used to bundle other key practices into ‘lifestyles’ (Shove et al 2012, Watson 2012) Co-evolution of socio-spatial order and practices (with mobility practices as glue). Key meanings inimical to low-carbon practices are shared across practice fields (choice, convenience) Problem of ‘steering’ transition – historical analysis of embedding and path dependencies, but no tools to change practice?

10 Changing practice Four strategies – – take automobile practice meanings as given and attempt to satisfy in low carbon way (tech fix, e-cars) = change material element of mobility practice, leave other elements untouched, OR – Replace meanings (health, environment, use of travel time) – Facilitate competing practices by addressing surrounding systems of practice (socio-spatial re- ordering) – Reinvigorate dormant and de-legitimised practice in context of above.

11 Changing socio-spatial order De-splintering, re-localisation, dense (liveable) and mixed-use, de- gentrification, reverse urban sprawl. Transitory/transition spaces – de-nuclearisation of domestic space (continental)? E.g. Speed not an issue if temporal flexibility is: in the other practices of everyday life (in daily context) involving work-sharing, de-specialisation? Based on living income? = autonomy over bundling and temporal organisation of ‘everyday life’ practices (in longer timeframes) Building resilience – e.g. Localisation of networks and economies, shortening chains of provision and consumption. (Cuba) Collective ‘ownership’ (access) of transportation systems – mobility of demand requires collectivisation of other material elements of the mobility system.

12 Autonomobile (systems of) practices Unconstrained by current systems and organising logics - destinations: Free-riding on ‘socially necessary’ transport Collective ownership and management (car- share, pools) Mandatory lift-giving (imposed cultural norm) Collective meso-transport Multi-modal Infrastructure for low-carbon (e.g. cycles, rickshaws, walking)

13 Conclusions Rather than succumbing to the path dependencies implied by high-tech, intelligent transport systems, we should identify, protect, resurrect and promote existent and dormant alternative low-carbon mobility practices which have been de-legitimised Transform regimes of dominant mobility systems, facilitating ‘autonomobility’ in ways which satisfy sustainability objectives along with those of mobility justice. Such transitions cannot only be limited to mobility but will depend on and engender changes in the cultural, economic and technological backbones of the social.

14 Conclusions Utopian? Normative? Yes, but an issue of: – Reflectivity regarding the normativity of BAU too! – Socio-technical co-evolution of the future. – Selection of the organising vision (sus dev, TM) – Creation of new norms and values – Return to our opening point – there is a window of opportunity to chose the future before it is imposed on us.

15 “[Odo] suggested that the natural limit to the size of a community lay in its dependence on its own immediate region for essential food and power, she intended that all communities be connected by communication and transportation networks, so that goods and ideas could get where they were wanted, and the administration of things might work with speed and ease, and no community should be cut off from change and interchange. But the network was not to be run from the top down.” (LeGuin 1974:77-78)


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